Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today participants organized a communitywide forum on self-harm and teenagers to take place Monday, Nov. 17.
Youth Development Director Chrissy Jones told the Cleveland Interagency Council members at a recent meeting the young group determined mental health issues, particularly self-harm, eating disorders, cutting and suicide, need to be better addressed.
A presentation compiled by the participants has been shown to a number of local youth groups and community organizations. The students discuss what behaviors to look for in the case of self-harm, and how a peer can potentially offer help.
Jones explained the forum in November will be a continuation of the presentation. It will expound upon the ideas researched and presented by the students. She said the event is made possible through a recently awarded grant.
Students will continue to work on the event at the biweekly meetings. More information on the forum will be released as the date draw’s closer.
Jones and co-worker Joe Mullins also provided a sketch of the three other programs offered through Bradley Initiative for Church and Community for the gathered interagency members.
“Starfish works with families who have children from the prenatal stage all the way under 5 five years old when they enter kindergarten,” Jones said. “A parent educator goes into the home either once or twice a month, depending on the needs of the family, and they bring developmental and educational activities.”
Parent educators provide screenings for vision, hearing and development. Involvement in the program often leads to group connections for parents and children. Jones reiterated the program is offered free of charge.
- Bridging the Gap Mentoring:
This program is for youth ages 6 to 16. Each child is paired with a mentor who is at least 18 years old. Every pair meets at least once a week for one hour of a variety of activities.
The personalities, interests and needs are considered during the pairing process.
“For this program our biggest need obviously is for adult volunteers,” Jones said. “If you know someone or if you yourself are interested and have an hour a week, then we would love for you to call in and volunteer.”
- BICC Transitions:
Families with at least one child in the 10-to-14 age range can sign up for seven-session program. The program is intended to strengthen family relationships through the cultivation of social and life skills in both parents and children.
Every meeting begins with a free, family-style dinner. All electronic devices are put to the side at the beginning of the meal.
“You have to sit at a table with your family and actually talk to them,” Mullins said. “You would be surprised at how many people do not know how to do that. A lot of them sit there and look at them like, ‘What am I supposed to do with you?’”
Children and parents attend separate focus groups before coming back together for discussion on the topic and a fun, family activity.
Added Jones, “The goal with BICC is just to provide programs at no cost to families in Cleveland and Bradley County that work on strengthening families, strengthening youth and education.”